We hold these truths...

A friend (and roving scholar) brought a recent article by Anthony Grafton in the New York Review of Books to our attention. Britain: The Disgrace of the Universities struck so many chords as it described much that was going wrong in higher education... it might well have been an article on India.

While warmly recommending the NYRBlog, here are some excerpts that may well have been written with India in mind.

... Unless policies and practices change soon, the damage will be impossible to remedy.

...it is vital to preserve and update our traditional disciplines and forms of knowledge: languages, precise interpretation of texts and images and objects, rigorous philosophical analysis and argument. Otherwise all the sexy interdisciplinary work will yield only a trickle of trendy blather.

And some excerpts that put the point across eloquently- and are worth reading for that alone.

... Universities exist to discover and transmit knowledge. Scholars and teachers provide those services. Administrators protect and nurture the scholars and teachers: give them the security, the resources, and the possibilities of camaraderie and debate that make serious work possible.

... Universities become great by investing for the long term. You choose the best scholars and teachers you can and give them the resources and the time to think problems through.

... Accept the short term as your standard—support only what students want to study right now and outside agencies want to fund right now—and you lose the future.